>> Dollar Hits | Eat the World Los Angeles

Friday 8 April 2022

Dollar Hits

Temple Street facade

COVID-19 UPDATE: The restaurant has a protected steam table and all food is sold to go. There are a couple tables set up in front for immediate eating.

Most folks outside of Filipinotown make their way to Dollar Hits in the evening to take part in what is now a time-honored Los Angeles tradition. Dozens of skewered selections indoors are chosen, paid for (most for $1, hence the name), drenched with the house barbecue sauce, and taken outside to be grilled by customers over charcoal.

Not many people come here because the food is amazing, it is more for the atmosphere. First it was just the community, then folks with Filipino friends made their way here. But for years the YouTubers and now Tik Tok superstars all come to film themselves at this Los Angeles institution.

The long steam table to point point at

But honestly, besides the atmosphere being really good and taking expat Filipinos straight back to humid nights in Manila, the whole thing is a little too drenched in lighter fluid. Certainly go if you have never gone before, but daytime is an even more special time, because the turo turo is cranking out trays of delicious Filipino standards for lunch.

The shop also has drinks, assorted packaged desserts and other goodies, and an array of seasonal fruits. Recently these boxes of mangoes were unfortunately not from the Philippines, where mangoes are possibly the best tasting in the world.

Mangoes, but unfortunately not Filipino mangoes

The concept of Dollar Hits began as a food truck as many brick and mortar restaurants in Los Angeles do, setting up each night like they do now with skewers and bbq. The turo turo addition has been a benefit of living in a store with a kitchen, and the talented staff are constantly bringing out new trays with fresh food.

Ask what is fresh, what is special for the day, or however else you usually approach selections like this, and grab a few options. Two dishes and rice, maybe the ultimate turo turo go to, comes out to a princely $11 and includes good portions of all three items.

Two dishes, rice, and lumpia with dipping sauce

A most recent visit chose their lovely and timeless chicken adobo (above, top right), usually referred to as the national dish of the Philippines. Restaurant versions are usually tasty but the best renditions are always found in people's homes. Lola's lola was the one who had the perfect balance of vinegar, garlic, and soy sauce after all, but Dollar Hits is not far behind.

As many Filipino dishes tend to be sweet, it is almost certain at least one of your selections will be as well like the hamonado (above and below, bottom right). The sweetness comes from being braised in pineapple juice, which combined with soy sauce and a nice long cooking creates a wonderfully tender pork rib.

Chicken adobo, pork ribs, and white rice

Even after you make the selections for your meats and/or vegetables, it is hard not to make more impulse purchases as you make your way towards the cash register to pay. As they are packing up your meal, more fried snacks show themselves.

Lumpia Shanghai are well-known and beloved, and very porky like many things in the Philippines, but Dollar Hits also stocks plenty of freshly prepared lumpia gulay ($1 each, below). These fried spring rolls are filled only with vegetables and are a good addition when the rest of your meal is very meaty. They also throw in a delicious homemade garlic vinegar dipping sauce, which should be used with caution if you have to speak with people face to face later in the day.

Lumpia gulay, fried vegetable spring rolls


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